Collection Evaluation and Weeding

Lake Oconee Academy Media Center

Earth Science: The 550s

I read a fascinating article yesterday about the large body of water scientists had discovered beneath our feet, close to the mantle. Scientists are now hypothesizing that water on our surface came from that aquifer deep beneath our crust, not from the asteroids that collided with our planet in its formative years. This, of course, came a week after I had shown my students a video about how water arrived here via asteroids. Eager to show my students that scientists are always learning new things about our amazing planet, I shared the article with them. Science is always changing; it is the very nature of science to question and discover, so science books need to be current. I selected the 550 section of earth sciences to evaluate and weed from to make sure that my sixth graders had access to the most recent information regarding our standards, which include hydrology, meteorology, plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, energy sources, and Earth's interior.

Evaluation Data: Age and Circulation

In evaluating the collection, I kept in mind the guideline that science books need to be replaced every ten years, so I first looked at the publishing dates of the books. Surprisingly, a majority of the books are over ten years old; the oldest book in the collection was published in 1975!

In addition to the ages of books, I looked at the amount of circulations so far this year. Some of the books with the highest circulation were also some of the oldest within the collection, being published as early as 1988. Gail Gibbons' books had the highest total circulations, averaging 10% of the total circulation. The Magic School Bus books and Simon Seymour's books both tied for second in circulation with an average of 8% of the total circulation for the year so far.

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Curricular Needs: Standards Represented and Quality of Trade Books

In addition to the age of the books and the amount of circulation, I wanted to consider how well the sixth grade science standards were represented within the collection. As indicated in the bar graph above, a majority of the collection includes books about geology, which I have broken up by strand. In total, geology content has 41% of the collection while hydrology and meteorology come in a close second. Meteorology books are 29% of the collection while hydrology books are 23% of the collection.

Geology is the biggest standard within sixth grade earth science; 60% of the Milestones End of Grade assessment questions will focus on the S6E5 standard, so it is encouraging to see it well represented in the collection. Upon closer evaluation, most of the geology books, however, are about rocks and minerals, earthquakes, and volcanoes. Plate tectonics, a new and often confusing topic, is not very well represented in the collection, with only 6 total books.

In addition to content, I also wanted to be sure I kept high-quality science trade books within the collection. The National Science Teachers Association publishes a list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for K-12 each year, and I wanted to keep those in the collection. The link for all the lists can be found here.

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Items to Weed

After careful consideration, the following books are to be weeded from the collection:

Published over ten years ago with low circulation:

Geologic Time by Jenny Karperenia

Earthquakes by Jackie Ball

Weather by Lynn Huggins-Cooper

The Changing Earth by Rebecca Olien

Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mt. St. Helens by

Earthdance: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tidal Waves, and Glaciers Shake our Restless Planet by Cynthia Nicolsen

Earthquakes by Franklyn Branley

Water: Up, Down, and All Around by Natalie Rosinsky

Air: Outside, Inside, and All Around by Darlene Still

Rain by Anita Ganen

How Mountains are Made by Kathleen Zoehfeld


In using the MUSTY acronym, many of these books are older, lacking in current research in these fields. In addition to the age, many of these books are superseded by other books in the collection that are newer with better information and higher circulation.


The following books are to be weeded due to incorrect information:

The Four Oceans by Wil Mara: When this book was published in 2005, there were only four oceans, but now there are five! There are two copies within the collection, and both need to be weeded.

Scholastic Atlas of Oceans: Similar to the previous book, the publish date of 2004 means that an updated atlas needs to be added to the collection. This book also has a badly damaged spine, as pictured in the first image below.


According to the MUSTY philosophy, these two books are misleading in their information, lacking in the current research and information about oceans, so they need to be weeded and replaced with books that discuss the five oceans we now have!


The following books are to be weeded due to not meeting the sixth grade science standards:

Cliff Climbers by Anita Ganeri

Glaciers by Sally Walker

The Sahara Desert by Aileen Weintraub


Within the MUSTY guidelines, these books would be considered trivial. In addition to that, these books have low circulation and are older.

Disposal of Weeded Items

Lake Oconee Academy is within the Greene County School System, but, as a charter school, we have our own board of trustees and our own guidelines for management of materials. The disposal of weeded items is not outlined by the county policy nor by the school policy, so, I asked the media specialist specifically what she does with weeded items. She throws them out. So, to dispose of the weeded items, I would remove them from the system and place them in the trash, Hard to do, but necessary.

Completed by Katherine Edwards